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By JoAnna Ness, Mar 21 2018 02:00PM

The Steuben County Community Foundation (SCCF) has awarded a one-year grant of $36,080 to the Early Childhood Alliance (ECA), the Child Care Resource & Referral agency serving Steuben County. The grant was awarded to ECA in response to a need for more quality child care options across the county. Building capacity and increasing quality of programs are critical in meeting the needs of Steuben County families, based on a survey of county child care providers, combined with county report data.

“I am always trying to be better at what I do and provide the best care for our community,” said Miranda Curey of Little Munchkins ChildCare, “and having these events and being able to ask the questions I had will help me do this.” Curey is one of the child care providers attending the Steuben County provider events designed to support early childhood education professionals. These events, which give providers from across the county opportunities to learn, network, and share best practices, are hosted by ECA.

These ongoing learning opportunities for providers are just one component of the grant. The grant provides funding to help both new and existing child care programs meet requirements to enroll or advance in Paths to QUALITYTM (Indiana’s quality rating and improvement system). Another key component of the initiative is providing support for providers working to achieve a Child Development Associate credential.

“I believe the early childhood field is overlooked by so many and most people do not know how important a quality program is,” said Tori Cline, director of Kingdom Kids. “When a program embarks on the journey with the Early Childhood Alliance, it helps the whole dynamic of a child care. We are able to educate our staff and our families on the importance of early childhood and really set the stage for children to be excited about learning. Because when you can change the first 5 years, you can change everything."

By JoAnna Ness, Mar 13 2018 02:00PM

Last fall, the Fremont Middle School Project Based Learning (PBL) class received a grant for a Dremel 3D40 3D printer through the Fremont Fund at SCCF and the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.

The printer has been in the Middle School PBL classroom since January and has had an impact on many Fremont students. Right now, 7th grade students are working on the basics of designing simple keychains for printing. Working through this project has introduced students to the constraints that come with designing on Tinkercad software and printing in plastic. Their next project, once they understand the design and printing basics, will be to work in teams to identify a problem in the schools, brainstorm a solution, and then design it. They will be using the engineering design process to solve this problem and guide them to workable solutions. This problem could be for a student with needs, a teacher or staff member, or the general student body. Some examples of problems may be personalized door stops for teachers that fit their doors and don’t get mixed up, or different shapes of bubble wands for students to use in Head Start at recess. One team is considering making 3D maps of the schools for substitute teachers, new students, and students with sight impairments.

Fremont has been able to share the printer between schools. The elementary school is creating reusable airplane glider parts for use in a STEM project and a high school business class has explored the possibilities of the printer and the design software.

The purpose of the Fremont Fund is to improve the quality of life in Fremont and to help with projects that will impact the community. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce is interested in a community of thinkers and potential employees that can solve problems. Having a 3D printer will continue to impact student motivation and creativity, as well as help to meet standards that give students the 21st century skills they need in today’s job market.

By JoAnna Ness, Feb 22 2018 04:00PM

The Katie Oberlin Memorial Fund was established at the Steuben County Community Foundation in February 2018. In the spirit of Katie’s passion and wishes, the funds generated from the Katie Oberlin Memorial Fund will be used to serve all clients at RISE Inc. The activities will be designed to cater to all RISE clients where funding would normally be an obstacle.

Katie was dedicated to helping everyone around her, and she respected the unique abilities of others. As the Public Relations Director of Client Council at RISE, she was actively involved in advocating for clients’ rights and ensuring that everyone’s needs were met. She was known as a very helpful and kind person by both clients and staff. Her passion for the agency and everyone who was a part of RISE was obvious.

Katie’s compassion and concern for inclusion is completely aligned with the mission of RISE. It is important to the Board of Directors and the leadership team at RISE that these requests are honored in the utilization of these funds.

RISE Inc. is a human services agency serving northeast Indiana headquartered in Angola, IN. It is the mission of RISE, Inc., in partnership with the community, to prepare, empower, and support individuals with challenges to participate in the community to their fullest physical, social, emotional, and vocational potentials. In partnership with the Steuben County Community Foundation, the generosity of this endowment fund will allow RISE to expand community integration programming for generations to come.

For questions about the Katie Oberlin Memorial Fund, please contact either RISE Inc. at 260-665-9408 or Steuben County Community Foundation at 260-665-6656.

By JoAnna Ness, Aug 11 2017 02:00PM

For many families, time together in the evening while cooking and enjoying dinner is incredibly valuable. Unfortunately, some families face obstacles in life and are unable to afford a home. Thanks to a grant of $5,400 in May 2017 from the Women’s Fund at Steuben County Community Foundation, Turning Point was able to upgrade from a small kitchen to a large, open area that families who are without a home can utilize during their stay at the shelter. They transformed a space that had been used for storage and was not functional at all into an area where families can cook together, children can work on homework at the table, and families spend their evenings in conversation.

Shannon Hentzell, Director of Turning Point, said she is grateful for the funding that made this possible. “We are so blessed to have this support from the Women’s Fund. This has made a huge difference for the families that stay here.”

Turning Point currently has 13 residents, including men, women and children. They primarily work with local individuals who recently lost their jobs or are not earning enough to support their families on their own. By working through multiple stages of programming at Turning Point, these individuals learn how to set and reach goals as well as gaining financial, parenting, and nutritional knowledge through classes. Graduates leave the shelter prepared to have meaningful lives as members of the community.

The Women’s Fund was started by two dynamic Steuben County ladies, Lucille Whitman and Wava Aughenbaugh. They make grants to local organizations who are working to improve the lives of women and girls. Currently, there are 10 volunteer members of the Women’s Fund at SCCF. For more information about the Women’s Fund, contact Jacqui Gentile, the SCCF Program Officer, at 260-665-6656 or

Pictured below are Jacqui Gentile (SCCF Program Officer), Shannon Hentzell (Director of Turning Point), Rita Lechleidner (Women’s Fund Member), and Julie Troyer (Women’s Fund Member and Secretary of SCCF Board of Directors).

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2017 Annual Report

Our annual report for FY2017 is now available. You can view the report in its entirety by clicking the button on the left and below.

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